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Begging His Pardon

by Bill Moyers

We have yet another remarkable revelation of the mindset of Washington's ruling clique of neoconservative elites—the people who took us to war from the safety of their Beltway bunkers. Even as Iraq grows bloodier by the day, their passion of the week is to keep one of their own from going to jail.

It is well known that I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby—once Vice President Cheney’s most trusted adviser—has been sentenced to 30 months in jail for perjury. Lying. Not a white lie, mind you. A killer lie. Scooter Libby deliberately poured poison into the drinking water of democracy by lying to federal investigators, for the purpose of obstructing justice.

Attempting to trash critics of the war, Libby and his pals in high places—including his boss Dick Cheney—outed a covert CIA agent. Libby then lied toLibby cover their tracks. To throw investigators off the trail, he kicked sand in the eyes of truth. "Libby lied about nearly everything that mattered,” wrote the chief prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. The jury agreed and found him guilty on four felony counts. Judge Reggie B. Walton—a no-nonsense, lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key type, appointed to the bench by none other than George W. Bush—called the evidence “overwhelming” and threw the book at Libby.

You would have thought their man had been ordered to Guantanamo, so intense was the reaction from his cheerleaders. They flooded the judge's chambers with letters of support for their comrade and took to the airwaves in a campaign to “free Scooter.”

Vice President Cheney issued a statement praising Libby as “a man…of personal integrity”—without even a hint of irony about their collusion to browbeat the CIA into mangling intelligence about Iraq in order to justify the invasion.

“A patriot, a dedicated public servant, a strong family man, and a tireless, honorable, selfless human being,” said Donald Rumsfeld—the very same Rumsfeld who had claimed to know the whereabouts of weapons of mass destruction and who boasted of “bulletproof” evidence linking Saddam to 9/11. “A good person” and “decent man,” said the one-time Pentagon adviser Kenneth Adelman, who had predicted the war in Iraq would be a “cakewalk.” Paul Wolfowitz wrote a four-page letter to praise “the noblest spirit of selfless service” that he knew motivated his friend Scooter. Yes, that Paul Wolfowitz, who had claimed Iraqis would “greet us as liberators” and that Iraq would “finance its own reconstruction.” The same Paul Wolfowitz who had to resign recently as president of the World Bank for using his office to show favoritism to his girlfriend. Paul Wolfowitz turned character witness.

The praise kept coming: from Douglas Feith, who ran the Pentagon factory of disinformation that Cheney and Libby used to brainwash the press; from Richard Perle, as cocksure about Libby’s “honesty, integrity, fairness and balance” as he had been about the success of the war; and from William Kristol, who had primed the pump of the propaganda machine at THE WEEKLY STANDARD and has led the call for a Presidential pardon. “The case was such a farce, in my view,” he said. “I’m for pardon on the merits.”

One beltway insider reports that the entire community is grieving—“weighted down by the sheer, glaring unfairness” of Libby's sentence.

And there’s the rub.

None seem the least weighted down by the sheer, glaring unfairness of sentencing soldiers to repeated and longer tours of duty in a war induced by deception. It was left to the hawkish academic Fouad Ajami to state the matter baldly. In a piece published on the editorial page of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, Ajami pleaded with Bush to pardon Libby. For believing “in the nobility of this war,” wrote Ajami, Scooter Libby had himself become a “casualty”—a fallen soldier the President dare not leave behind on the Beltway battlefield.

Not a word in the entire article about the real fallen soldiers. The honest-to-God dead, and dying, and wounded. Not a word about the chaos or the cost. Even as the calamity they created worsens, all they can muster is a cry for leniency for one of their own who lied to cover their tracks.

There are contrarian voices: “This is an open and shut case of perjury and obstruction of justice,” said Pat Buchanan. “The Republican Party stands for the idea that high officials should not be lying to special investigators.” From the former Governor of Virginia, James Gilmore, a staunch conservative, comes this verdict: “If the public believes there’s one law for a certain group of people in high places and another law for regular people, then you will destroy the law and destroy the system.”

So it may well be, as THE HARTFORD COURANT said editorially, that Mr Libby is “a nice guy, a loyal and devoted patriot…but none of that excuses perjury or obstruction of justice. If it did, truth wouldn’t matter much.”


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Comments

Appreciate Chuck's post below...and I suspect that
anyone trying to serve their
nation but who finds themselves trapped by impossible contradictions
and circumstances such as Mr. Libby or the Marines
on trial for the fabricated
Haditha "massacre" pushed
by Tim McGuirk and John Murtha, that any such person
is humbled, broken and emerge refined by the fires
of trials. You have a very
compelling website, Chuck.

Mr. Libby avoided prison for crimes far greater than mine…for which I spent time in prison. However, looking back it was the best thing that ever happened to me. As stated in the book “Serving Time - Serving Others” - Prisons are places in which real changes can occur, primarily because they are places void of most worldly distractions. I found this to be the case as today I am the founder of the Choices Foundation, a non-profit organization that promotes presentations to young people about Choices and the Consequences that follow. I won’t replicate my prison experience - I got it - but do find that sharing with others brings meaning from what was, otherwise, a difficult time. www.chuckgallagher.com

With his new found freedom...wonder if Mr. Libby will have gained any valuable insight? Wonder if the loss of the opportunity to learn serves any valuable purpose? Let's hope that something good will come from this action.

The heartland stands and cheers for the presidential
commutation of the absurd
conviction of patriot, Scooter Libby. He should have never been entrapped
in the hunting expedition
of the IC. Happy 231st birthday, America!

Clinton issued 140 pardons as well as several commutations on his last day of office

I believe the majority of Americans will see this travesty of justify for what it is, a truly hypocritical use of presidential power. This president who enjoys executing people; who sent more people to death in Texas then any other governor, and laughed when a young Texas women begged for her life. Who has killed, maimed and destroyed thousands and thousands of people (Iraq War, Katrina, Guantanamo) through ineptitude, criminal neglect and sadism.

Rising above the pettiness
of partisan politics which
consumes liberals and politcians on all sides, we
need the shock of Churchillian bluntness: The
Jihadists have declared war on the west (civilization, us),they believe as Mao did, that power comes from the barrel of a gun (or the edge of a sword)and they
want the west submitted or dead. Nothing the leftists,
liberals and democrats are saying strikes fear in the hearts of Jihadists, but rather emboldens them. Why can't liberals see this? What is the liberal plan for battling and defeating the Jihadists and defending our freedom? America is awaiting your answer. It must be quick and convincing
or you will ignored in 2008.

You alone have had the courage to use the public airwaves to label the war hawks and their media accomplices with the descriptors they truly deserve. You are the antidote to Tim Russert.

Dear Bill,

I follow your work closely. I write books on the same problems in your spirit and hopefully pose civil alternatives. My work is an elaboration of what you say. Sorry for this commercial but I do not know how else to say what I want to say except to write about it. You should read my book with Stanford University Press on A FUTURE FOR THE AMERICAN ECONOMY or my book with Cambridge University Press called THE FIELD OF SOCIAL INVESTMENT or more recent books like A CIVIL ECONOMY and A CIVIL REPUBLIC. See: www2.bc.edu/~bruyn.
Keep up this important work. You can reach people in ways that people like me -- a concerned public -- cannot.

Thank you Bill Moyers for again and again speaking truth to power. Our democracy is founded on the rule of law. Thus, Libby should go to prison because he committed perjury and obstruction of justice. The neo-cons and their right wing supporters can try to spin the injustice of Libby's sentence, but the truth still remains--Libby committed perjury and obstrution of justice, and he is not above the law because of his close ties with Cheney and Bush.

Bravo, Bill Moyer and PBS, for cutting through the spin, and highlighting the actual offence. The current administration's standard practice is to stall, deny what was previously done, or to "modify" conditions to justify their acts. Anyone who intentionally "outs" an agent, or misleads a criminal investigation, has committed a crime, and, to do it for political advantage makes it all the more odious. Naturally, if Scooter had told the whole truth, maybe we would have had the real villian, Dick Cheney, up for crimes and misdemeanors instead of his sacrificial goat.

Keep up the truth, PBS, we are certainly not getting it from any other source. Big media continues to replace issues with Paris Hilton newsbreaks, or mouths the administrations sound bites.

I'm glad that you can continue to speak the truth in the face of what seems to be an Anschluss of Republican crookedness and "conservative" corruption. PBS has become, sadly, even more tepid and rightwing than when I was forced to watch Kiplinger Report growing up, let alone Lawrence Welk.
You even have your own pet troll, which can be highly amusing if taken with the right attitude, like befriending a stray dog on vacation. The barking is cute for the short time that it is around....

Truth isn't important to the web host. Hypocracy and blatent dishonesty have been a continuing distinction of the career of Bill Moyers. His disregard and distortion of facts is just short of that exhibited by Molly Ivins (may she rest in peace). They both live(d) in a parallel universe in which facts don't matter. This article is just another link in the sequence that began when he cut-and-ran from his sponsor and mentor, LBJ. Responsibility on his part has been avoided at every opportunity. Perhaps he ( and you?) can explain all the liberal outrage and idignity of the Libby situation compared to the Sandy Berger (huh,huh) stuffing TS stuff in his pants...were you outraged then? The number of Presidential pardons that Dubya (YOUR Prez) gives will hopefully surpass the amount given by his predecessor. Until that happens...BM's minions remain pathetic liars and hypocrites.

Your report on Scooter Libby was breathtaking in its selective version of the truth. As you must know,
Mr. Libby was convicted of a process crime since the
prosecutor could not convict
him of divulging the identity of a covert CIA operative, which was admitted to by Richard
Amritage, who is not being prosecuted. The real America
knows the truth. We can tell the difference. How is it just that Sandy Berger
commits an actual crime he admits to and goes free while Libby is entrapped and
was not the first person to discuss Plame as Novak confirmed, yet he goes to jail? How can liberals say
that is just?

Bill, I have read your articles and watched your programs knowing that there would be a civil discussion, both points taken and an open mind with objective discourse. I do thank you for your open and honest manner and thought.

So, is there any reason why these individuals cannot be tried for treason?

Best regards
Anita Stowe

Mr. Moyers
I came to know your work only recently. I have gone back into several archives and studied some of the things you have done in the past.

I would like to thank you for a wonderful body of work and your excellence on your new program.
I feel honored each time I read something you have written because you have the facility with words that I have always lacked.

Case in point is this article about Lewis Libby.
You so beautifully set down in words my own thinking.

I think we all know that Bush will pardon him. I expect it will be right after the next elections when doing so will no longer hurt the Republicans who are running for office. This would be in keeping with the sneaky, under-handed way Bush so frequently operates.

I recently read an article by Marty Kaplan, a fine writer in his own right, in which he challenged Bush to go ahead and pardon Libby now because it would be in keeping with his lack of morality, arrogance bordering on hubris and his total lack of concern (or respect) for the rule of law.

I believe, however, that he is too big a coward to do so and will wait until he can "sneak" it in.

Thank you again for your fine work.
I look forward to reading (and now seeing) you in the future.

Integrity, clarity, insightful-These only begin to express my gratitude for Bill Moyers Journal. The Grace Boggs conversation was fascinating and thought provoking.
Thanks

Thanks for presenting all those appeals as the partisan trash they are. Brilliantly showcased.

Libby's sentence for perjury in such a serious case strikes me as unduly short, but I'll be surprised if he ends up serving a day of it. There's no justice in this country any longer or Shrub and His Thugs would all be rounded-up for their villainies.

One thing you can say about Libby he will take the fall for Bush and Cheney, he knows he will not serve timeof any consquence, Bush will pardon him, Bush had better pardon him or Libby will tell all.

Generally speaking, it seems that most conservatives have the mentality that laws are not meant to apply to fellow right wing conservatives.

Thank you Bill. I look forward to your Journal on Friday nights.

To Sue above, it is scary right now being an American. I also look forward to the day when our decline into authoritarianism is halted and we are able to restore our democracy.

I feel Bill Moyers's shame about our shameless leaders:

"Not a word . . . about the real fallen soldiers. The honest-to-God dead, and dying, and wounded. Not a word about the chaos or the cost. Even as the calamity they created worsens . . . None seem the least weighted down by the sheer, glaring unfairness of sentencing soldiers to repeated and longer tours of duty in a war induced by deception."

Too many human beings in what they say and do are abominable, despicable, so disappointing that you want to apply the words "the horror, the horror" from the film "Apocalypse Now." And, concerning cinematic or literary art, we turn to, retreat to literature and cinema, for the artist shows or reminds us, as well, that we, and our actions, can be lovable, worthy, significant.

I say to the recent immigrant who feels this country is a paradise that for it to go back to the great wealth divide and hardships of the 1890's robber baron era is a bitter pill to swallow for American families who want their children to prosper and have opportunities like they had.

As long as there is no full public financing of elections, our representatives will need huge contributions from special interests, and the (majority) American people, to one degree or another, will be sold out.

This intrinsic poisonous situation continues to undermine our democratic ideals and way of life. We are a great country, even as a dysfunctional democracy, when compared to countries where corruption and tyranny are a total reality. But, for many decades the majority of Americans have continued to lose big pieces of the American pie via a corrupt democratic system that citizens have been unable to change.

Ulterior motives and hypocrisy fuel the confusing and contradicting assertions made by pundits and politicians and the resulting fog of opinion. Can enough of us be sure of what's true to change things?

Scary times indeed, to find myself agreeing with Pat Buchanan!

Sometime in the next couple of months we will learn whether we are a nation ruled by laws, or one ruled by men.

Show us, Mr. Bush: does our system of laws mean anything at all to you? Or is it really just all about you, your deciding, your covering your backside, your protecting those who protect you, your sending our troops into harm's way like so many toy soldiers on your bedroom floor battlefield all based on lies, just so you can strut your "war president" stuff?

If Libby gets pardoned, it can only mean one thing: the legal system, as well as our system of government, have become irrelevant and are mere impediments to Bush et al. doing whatever they damn well please, and such impediments exist only to be overcome.

here's the truth about truth in America... it doesn't matter when it's an establishment lie. think about it. look at your burger. does it look like the picture? check your gas milage. how 'bout the insurnce industry... talk to a LA homeowner about katrina... health insurance? you have to fight for every dime. and, on to washington where integrity has curled up and died. oh well... how do we change it? how? seriously, what do we do to give our country to the people? when will the republic stand for the benefit of the majority? when? how?

The Scooter Libby segment was a small step for all non-adjectivised americans.

The precedent set by the WSJ in publishing a prayer from Norman Podhoretz to his Jewish God for Bush to nuke Iran downgrades Americans who strongly believe in being just Americans first and foremost.

The hoopla for forgiving or minimizing what an individual who happens to be Jewish is another example of the mythology that such people consider themselves better and more elitist than just plain Americans.

More of the same Mr. Moyers 300 million americans deserve honest and fair reporting on the part of media. and its about time.

We impeached Bill Clinton for obstruction of justice for lying about sex.
Yet, we should pardon Scooter Libby for obstruction of justice for collusion in starting a war, outing a CIA agent and breaching our intelligence procedures.
The final irony is the list of his 'defenders'!!!!
I can't thank you enough for your courage to 'speak truth to justice'.

From a psychological perspective, the Bush/Cheney administration and its neocon allies succeeded in promoting the misguided and destructive war in Iraq by targeting our core concerns about vulnerability, injustice, distrust, superiority, and helplessness. Looking ahead, they will likely try to sell us a continuing occupation of Iraq—or an attack on Iran—in much the same way. I examine these warmongering appeals and how to counter them in a new 10-minute video entitled "Resisting the Drums of War." It's available for viewing on YouTube HERE.

Grace, I loved your wardrobe for the Moyer's interview - outstanding!! Definitely sends a message of sagacity, wisdom and the interrelationship of the sexes - POWER to the IQ!

Good day! Thank Bill for a wind from another quarter. We have come to expect and enjoy it, fresh from over lands and seas we only dream of. I've read a few of the Libby blogs and have to say no one has gotten the point quite right; it's all about hush-up. Yes, the quicker we can incarcerate the loyalist, the quick he will sing like the rusty hinge on his cell. Six to eight weeks to get his things in order - outrageous!

I wonder if everyone watching sees the subtle connections to all three stories. We must have a modern enligthenment soon. The revolution that was dicussed must happen soon or we will have more and more Libby types-the unelected- running our government. And the fact that a pardon is considered shows how much the Democrats have given up on what is right and just. Our two parties have sent us to the wind governing with the elites. Elite theory does not maintain democracy it only maintains wealth and power, which has always been our class struggle in this nation. I only hope people can see how these connect up and gives us foresight to make change now, before it is too late!

This morning I am haunted by your piece on Libby last night. I can't thank you enough for saying forthrightly what needs to be said. I hope people in other countries are watching your program so they will be reminded that we Americans are not all of the ilk of Cheney and Bush.
In the smog of today's governmental dishonesty, it is so great to know that good values still exist. May a strong wind blow their dishonesty away, and clear the air for some fair and decent leadership, which our good people deserve.

A minority dissent: I believe Libby's imprisonment is less important than having Bush implicate his Administration in what he was doing on their behalf by pardoning him. My argument in full:

http://ajliebling.blogspot.com/2007/06/why-i-hope-bush-pardons-libby.html

Bully!

Tell it like it is, Mr. Moyers.

http://patrickjfitzgerald.blogspot.com

Yes, the president should pardon Scooter, who is just an obedient scapegoat for a failed vp. And quickly, time is short. If Scooter languishes in gaol, it may be justice, but with no international benefit. A pardon followed by an outcry of outrage, adds to the groundswell for double impeachment. Provided of course no vital Paris Hilton news needs mass attention. Impeachment and removal from office of the real culprits trumps any desire to punish Scooter.

America may have lost the courageous Molly Ivins, but America still has the courageous Bill Moyers. I applaud your integrity as a journalist and your steadfastness as a patriot during these dark times.

Wow, bravo and thank you. You state it as it is, clearly and courageously. And we are in debt to you for your program and its commentary.

Those who trash you, I find, are of a herd mentality, frightened, insecure, and not apt to think for themselves. Still, they make me mad enough to land a punch, as I watch the damage being done by Bush.

Thank you again Bill Moyers for another outstanding, brilliant Journal. I have searched for the words to express how/why I feel/believe as I do in order to articulate these to a few people who truly matter to me but totally disagree with me. I have always failed, but you and your guests managed to very eloquently and clearly say what I wish many others could hear and maybe understand. The only thing I did not hear that, in a way, sums up the answer to what we so frequently ask; what can I, one person, do to help bring about change? Maybe we should hear, "Be The Change". I look forward to your thought provoking, educational and inspirational Journal every Friday night. Keep up the good work.

Linda

thank you... you always remind me of what honesty, integrity, decency, and reason can look like when expressed in a public forum... actually, more than just thank you... bless you...

http://takeitpersonally.blogspot.com/

Don't worry too much about Scooter Libby....He'll have a good radio show soon. Worry more about BM and the other partisan propagandists...the not-so-loyal opposition...being relagated, as thy say, to the scrap heap of history... joining Tokyo Rose, Hanoi Jane, Cindy whatshername, Neville Chamberlain, and the other not-so-loyals to western civilization. Pretty soon it will be adios Bill...like so many of his dinosaur colleagues. Where's Dan Rather when you need him?

Libby's penalty IS unjust. The real justice would be if all those sending him glowing references were hanging next to him.

Only one capital crime is defined in the Constitution- treason- the noose fits.

oh, poo..poo...it's just over two years. scooter can work out, learn a trade, catch up on his reading. i'm sure someone will hire him when he gets out. they owe him that, dontchathink?

Moyers was spot about Libby for perjury, while he’s compared Clinton's perjury to Greek tradegy, when Clinton was no different as a liar than Libby. Hypocrite. Moyers got better as the night wore on and he left his own dogma out of the picture.

Billy Don Moyers whose career peaked as toady to one of the most morally corrupt Presidents in the Nation's history again chooses the, uh, "high road" to whine again and again about the only government we've had since FDR and Truman to recognize and confront the evil that threatens our way of life. As a Texan, it is BM not GWB that makes us ashamed. GWB has killed an amazing number of evil people....thats a good thing.

Plame and her husband were out on an unauthorized political junket from the beginning and just got outed for what they both were...partisan hacks.

BM's sympathizers are either suicidal, mentally challenged or co-conspirator to the evils that we face as a civilization. You cower together here, to paraphrase BM, poisoning the drinking water of democracy, thinking you are safe because of your uh, intellectual, uh....oh, nevermind...most of you already know deep inside that you are morally corrupt.

Thank you, Mr. Moyers for recalling for us the "rule of law" which has been much maligned by those who find themselves under its power -- whether they be spoiled celebrities or a corrupt politicians.

thanks for telling the truth once again - would that everyone could hear it! And thank you and your guests for reminding us that the work we do in our communities, no matter how insignificant it seems when compared to the problems of the world, is the only way that change will come.

My advice to the American people that can get CBC Canada to Start watching 'The National" forget PBS for the "News Hour With Jim Liar is as Bad as the major Networks and Charlie Rose is just another Republican mouthpiece.The MSM is the Biggest traitor to the American people more than Bush. Politicans are in for the POWER,it's suppoes to be the 'Journalists" that keep them Honest. Even in this article moyers is Making Excuse for the MSM saying the Government mislead Them about the War.WELL!!! what's thier Excuse NOW.Why is that there is really No Liberal voices in media?? When All you get On CNN is Spin trying to Make Bush Look good at 29% and Couric getting 10 mill a year to read a teleprompter the American people are in trouble. Thankful that CBC has held to thier High Standards when the guy that Murdered the 33 People and One of your Major Networks Show his Sick from the Grave Video CBC CHOSE not to give the bastard Air Time.That wouldn't happen in the USA because All they care about is the Ratings Not Informing the Public. FOX loves to go On and On about Anti-Americanism there is No Such thing.The World can Tell the Difference between Bush and an AMERICAN.You Know what the world feels about America it is great Sadness.To watch Bush Destroy EVERYTHING that has Always made America Great.The Worst Crime of Bush is the Destoying the World's TRUST in the American government. I still think the American people are one of most the Giving and Caring People in the world.the politicans like to make it out that they are the generous givers when they say how much America gives to Charity,but most of that comes from ordinary people who donate to charities.I still have Faith in the American People for You are AMERICA not some Fool in the Whitehouse.Clinton said something like " There is NOTHING so BAD about America that America Can't FIX". Last Election shows that You're Slowly on the Mend and Power to the People. God bless you All. Never Believe that it's the American people the World HATES it's Really the "BUSH" Republicans which aren't even Republican.Remember it's Always Darkest before the DAWN.Please know that the World is Pulling for Ya.We Want America Back Also we've been missing her.:>)

Libby endangered the life of a C.I.A. operative, and lied about it. Pardon should be out of the question, the death penalty should be considered.

Watching you commentary on Scooter Libby and cant begin to tell you how thankful I am that your voice of reason is out their to set the record straight.

Please keep up the fight. Our great but weakened country remains under assault from within and Scooter Libby and Alberto Gonzales, etc., etc. are the determined facilitators.

Now, time to find where to go to update my subscription to PBS.

Bill Moyers Journal is making a difference!


thanks Bill. there are many of us who, once we pay attention and accept the facts, see the neo-cons as the extremists evil doers. they forsake the rule of law for their own personal, corrupt Fascist views.

Should the fox be hired to guard the hen house? How can any thinking person consider that it might be OK for President Bush to pardon Scotter Libby?? Bush is the instigator of all these lies and deceitful actions.....this has been the story of his life!!! Impeachment is too good for him.

Thank you Mr. Moyers. As always, you are right on... thanks for giving a voice to the voiceless, and please keep speaking out. This man, and those he served are guilty of treason, and should have no quarter.

Very True, Bill, and well put. I believe he should not be pardoned.

When people get too factious, and think only about their side, and their people, then those on the 'other side' become not people to work and comprosmise with but enemies to thwart. In such an environment, only the goal matters and not the means. Lies seem OK in such an environment. They are not.

I plead for people to look beyond factions and look for integrity when choosing who to support with your vote. Yes, I know there's not much to choose from, and that's partly our fault because we too have become factious. So let's start reversing this trend.

Thank you for noticing, Mr Moyers!

As a military family I am outraged how little they care for our soldiers.

They act like Libby is some kind of hero for taking Cheney's fall! After sitting in on some of that trial, I was more disgusted than ever.

The lengths they went to in order to cover up the lies that began this war were clearly treason.

Please keep speaking out!

No one seems to have mentioned that Libby's dog likes him.

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